When Death does mean Death in Tarot…

XIII Death (c) Jordan Hoggard 2010

XIII Death
(c) Jordan Hoggard 2010

It’s fairly common these days to hear phrases along the lines of…

Oh! Death… No… Death doesn’t mean Death… It means transformation…

And whilst it’s true that it often does mean transformation… or transition… or renewal… or ha! my personal favourite… petite mort! The fact remains that sometimes Death does indeed mean Death…

Though not in that 70’s horror film cliche of an imminent grizzly ending…

But as Death… death as a normal part of life…

After all… the Tarot reflects all parts of our lives, so why would it not also take time to come and sit with us to talk about Death?

And over the years, I must admit it’s only a handful of times that it has turned up in that role… but each time it has shown up, it has been powerful and poignant and my deck and cloth has transformed into a space to talk about thoughts, feelings and emotions surrounding death in wonderfully healing ways…

Never has it appeared as a surprise… the person who I have been reading for has always been going through some intense and often prolonged times with thoughts of death as a companion…

Sometimes it has appeared when a person is very close to someone who they know is dying. This is where I see Tarot as a truly beautiful tool…How often do people talk about death in everyday life? It almost feels to be taboo… People are awkward and embarrassed… Don’t believe me? Talk to someone who has been bereaved and I bet they’ll tell you how friends and neighbours crossed to road to avoid talking to them at some point… So when Death arrives in a Tarot reading in this context, it opens up those conversations… maybe to talk about how angry or bitter or cheated we feel but also to take time to reflect on the value of life and what that person truly means to us… how can we make meaningful connections with that person in their final days… give thanks for all they have brought into our life, tell them how much we love them and say all the things that we would regret if we left unsaid…

I’ve also seen Death appear in a reading for someone who had had a near death experience that had become an enormous catalyst and inspiration for the work that they were doing…

I think it’s sad that so many wish to disconnect from Death…

Death is part of Life…

And as such, we should embrace it…